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Author Topic: "Bring back the Greek gods"  (Read 4465 times)
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Last Login:September 30, 2008, 10:28:13 am
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Religion: Christian (Eastern Orthodox)
Posts: 43

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« Reply #8: October 28, 2007, 11:59:40 am »

The L.A. Times had an op-ed article on Oct. 23rd from Dr. Mary Lefkowitz, professor emerita at Wellesley College. In it, she argues for a return to polytheism, but her reasons are some I haven't seen often discussed in quite that way.

I'm totally unfamiliar with her work etc...but I can't help but wonder exactly what is she a professor of?  Shocked It could simply be the way the article is written and quoted out of context of a larger world view she has, but from simply reading that article she seems lacking in knowledge about pretty much all the religions of late antiquity, including monotheism. She forgets to mention that a large portion (though maybe not the majority) of the greek philosophers had long given up on hard polytheism as truth, and they were  influenced by Hellenistic cultures, religions etc... That's one reason the Jesus movement was able to "take off" as it were so easily, because many people no longer really accepted hard polytheism.

The article says:

Unlike the monotheistic traditions, Greco-Roman polytheism was multicultural.

This one's simply so inaccurate from a historical perspective...that is if she is even talking about ancient Christianity at all. She seems to be talking modern American Evangelical Christianity which is something very different...if that's what she's talking about, then I would definitely agree with her!  Cheesy

The Greeks and Romans did not share the narrow view of the ancient Hebrews that a divinity could only be masculine.

She's going to have a tough time explaining the wisdom tradition of  2nd Temple Judaism with this understanding! Smiley (of which christians inherited and developed even further)

Similarly, when Christians denied the existence of any gods other than their own, the Romans suspected political or seditious motives and persecuted them as enemies of the state.

Didn't she start the article out by saying polytheists did NOT kill people for having different beliefs? Now she admits they did? True, it was largely for political reasons, but I just find it odd the way she argues the point, thats all.

I'm actually probably being a little too hard on this article because admittedly it is out of a broader context which I'm sure makes more sense. But she really doesn't show much knowledge about monotheism of the period she's talking about...rather it seems she is seeing "Christianity" as the Evangelical American kind (and of a specific genre of even that) rather than studying what Christians of THAT time actually wrote and believed.

Granted I understand her frustrations, I imagine everyone her does as well. But she takes a very "Elaine Pagels" view of the ancient world, which needless to say, isn't very accurate. (a sort of fuzzy, fluffy bunny view of ancient paganism) She does have some good arguments, but they are mostly philosophical, and while they certainly make sense to her, and perhaps others, from an historical perspective they are, at least in my opinion, quite weak.


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